Should I just google this?
August 26, 2013 6:39 PM   Subscribe

What do I need to know about promoting my small online business using Google AdWords?

My copy editing business started off as just a casual, intermittent thing I did for friends -- friends who happened to be traditionally-published authors who were branching into self-publishing. Now it's reached a point where books I'm editing are getting onto the NYTimes bestseller list, and so I'm trying to take advantage of that to attract more clients. I've got a website, a FB site and twitter. My writer friends are spreading the word to their writer friends. I'm going big on a "back to school special" next week, and...what's this about Google AdWords?

I got a $100 AdWords credit from Weebly for building my website there, and another $100 from Google itself (for signing up for site analytics, I think). But I know next to nothing about what I should be doing, best practices, what to avoid, etc.

So, help?

If it matters, my niche is copy editing and light developmental editing for romance, erotica and new adult fiction.
posted by BlahLaLa to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
AdWords is really competitive now. This means that bid prices are inflated for competitive keyword terms. So, you could run through a couple of hundred dollars in one month from a few clicks on your ad, and that would be it.

Part of the challenge, besides the general expensive and complex nature of contemporary AdWord campaigns, is that what happens to leads if and when they reach your site?

Do you have a site aimed at various kinds of personas? Is it optimized for conversion once they get there? Does the conversion make sense? If not, you're sending traffic to your site that bounces back to the Internet.

Something that might be more of a priority could be SEO. SEO is no longer a gray area or dark art, but is really more about being rewarded for having relevant content on your site, and optimizing to get found in Search. On top of that, you can leverage social networks (Facebook and Google Plus) to send traffic your way.

So, instead of scratching your head and trying to figure out AdWords, it's probably a good idea to a) make sure your site has relevant content b) optimize for organic traffic c) optimize for conversions, and make sure that your conversion strategy is optimized for your buyer personas (eg, do they phone you? submit an email address? send you an email?)

Along the way, think about ways to join a relevant online community, and start contributing meaningfully to that community.

Google Plus is great, in that it has global reach, but so is LinkedIn (lots of copywriter groups). There are some Google Groups that are useful.

However, in my experience (I started out as a copywriter for television and big brands) picking up the phone is the best way to get more work. You can qualify leads more quickly that way through word of mouth.

A website may work for over-the-transom stuff, but personal connections are more powerful.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:03 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

By the way, Adwords has a great keyword planner that provides information about keyword volume. That would be helpful for your SEO.

The keyword planner is really designed for Adwords, so you can take a look at the keyword planner tool and see how challenging it is going to be to get up to speed in Adwords.

There is a simpler tool called Adwords Express that could help you too.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:05 PM on August 26, 2013

You need to take a serious look at your site through the eyes of someone who clicked on the ad. Ideally, you want your ads to be targeted pretty specifically because that will get you more interested people and should also save you money, more or less. Like if you place an ad on "copyediting", that's going to be both expensive and competitive and might hit people looking for jobs or copyediting advice, etc., so you'd want to target something like "copyediting for romance writers" or "copyediting erotica" based on the niches you service.

With that in mind, take a look at your site through the eyes of someone arriving via ads placed on those keywords. Does your site scream "I am a person who will make your love scenes steamy for a low low price" or whatever you're trying to get across? If your info is pretty general, what you'll want to do is have your ads link to what we call a Landing Page targeted to that audience. So, for example, if I was targeting romance writers, I'd have that ad link to a page within my site that talked all about how I was the best copyeditor for making your prose perfect, your relationships realistic, and your saucy scenes steamy with a little Contact Me or Buy Now or whatever you do button. I'd set up one of those for every potential niche you're targeting.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:18 PM on August 26, 2013

1) The best thing will be to have a nice easy funnel/landing page system for the deal that you are promoting. This is what your ad should go to. A really nice "Buy this NOW" sort of look to it. That will funnel people to make a sale right from that page. Create this as a conversion in your analytics to track it. You don't want a ad just going to your homepage when you are running a deal, even if that homepage has a banner for the deal there are too many places for someone to wander off.

2) Do some A/B testing. You can Google this, Hubspot has tons of articles on A/B testing. That can help you tweak your ads.

3) Keyword and Cost Per Click research is huge. Long tail keywords can also be used to your advantage. Instead of "soap" its "All natural coconut milk soap" or whatever is more specific and has high search but low competition.

4) Check your competition for inspiration. Whatever is in a similar field that you know is profitable, mirror that. Again where a nice funnel or landing page system comes into play.

Also check to make sure that what you think is your competition is actually your competition. Your services will probably be different than some other editing services. You want to make sure you are targeting keywords for people who will want your services, not others that are perhaps similar.

5) Consider other types of advertising. Google can be pricy depending on how competitive your market is. Facebook is pretty good too. I think they give you offers for free advertising after you hit 100 likes.

6) Research! Research! Research! I always start my keyword research by making a nice Excel with the keyword, local monthly search, and competition. I then pay attention too to what Google suggests in addition to my keyword ideas. Then after I make a big list, I select the top ones. For advertising it will be a nice mix of high search volume, low competition, and relevance to your product.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:33 PM on August 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Okay, so to clarify: my site is in good shape, has some great marketing copy, shows why I'm Teh Best Editor Ever for Romance, Erotica and New Adult Fiction. It also has a good call to action. But the rest of the stuff you guys are talking about -- I literally don't understand any of it. Please talk to me like I'm a total idiot, okay?
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:04 PM on August 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would be very careful doing Google AdWords if you have no experience with it because there are all kinds of details and you can lose money very quickly with it if you are not careful or don't know what you are doing. For example, there's display vs. search, there are all kinds of limitations you can place on who sees your ads, there's something called "negative keywords", etc. Even if you master all of that, there's no guarantee the ads will bring you good quality business. People generally say that leads found through organic search are better quality than AdWords leads. So a really big question is what kind of people are you trying to reach, and why would they respond to ads, and are there alternative ways for you to reach these people, such as networking, directories, conferences and trade shows, etc.
posted by Dansaman at 8:40 PM on August 26, 2013

Just call them and ask for help setting up a campaign.operators are standing by.

Ask lots of questions so that you have a good understanding of how it works. You

can spread those gift certificates out over a month and see if it works for you. Pm me for some other tips if you'd like.

I manage adwords for many many clients with budgets large and small, and even though I'm very familiar with how it all works, I don't hesitate to call for assistance.

866 246-6453
posted by bricksNmortar at 8:56 PM on August 26, 2013

Best answer: Okay, so, keywords are what you type into Google when you are looking for something.

For example, I am a customer looking for cat pictures, my keyword would be "cat pictures"

Google offers a number of tools that'll let you see related keywords and what the CPC--Cost per click, how much it costs when someone clicks on your ad--might be for each of them.

I'm using Google Keyword Planner (this is a tool for planning your AdWords campaign) and here's some options that come up:

Cute cat pictures
cat pictures with captions
fat cat pictures
Ugly cat pictures

Keyword Planner gives me a bunch of data including average monthly searches (how many people type that keyword in in a month), Competition (how many people are advertising there), and Average Cost Per Click. "Cute Cat Pictures" costs $1.70, on average, for someone to click on it and be taken to your site. However, "bengal cat pictures" has lower average monthly searches, but also costs $0.06 per click.

Sidebar: The way AdWords work is Google doesn't say "Okay, it's $3 for that," it's basically a bidding system where I say I will pay $1.00 per click and you say you will pay $0.02 per click, so my ads show up before yours and if there's enough competition, yours may not show up at all.

So, switching things around: I run a cat picture website and want to drive some traffic to my site. Now, "bengal cat pictures" is a cheaper keyword, but an ad with the text "I heard you like cat pictures" that takes someone looking for specifically bengal cat pictures to a site full of generic cat pictures is 1. probably not going to get a lot of clicks and 2. Even if it does, people are going to show up and go away because they wanted bengal cat pictures. This is niche marketing. It's already what you do. You say yourself your services are tailored to romance and erotica writers.

So what I would do is have my ad link to a specific page on my site where arrivals from my "bengal cat pictures" ad would see bengal cat pictures. This is called a landing page, because it's where they land once they click the ad, and it's tailored to their interests because well, obviously, that's the whole freakin' point, directing people who'd be interested in your services to your site.

So, turning from cat pictures to your website, buying keywords like "Copyediting" or "Copyediting services" is probably going to be expensive because the term is general so there's going to be a ton of competition and people who arrive on your site may be looking for copyediting jobs or they may be looking for general copyediting info, not "someone who will copyedit Hot Tales of Librarian Lust for me", y'see, so you'd be paying a lot and seeing disappointing results.

What you want to do is figure out what someone who'd be looking for your services would type into Google. ("copyediting for romance writers"? "copyediting for self-publishing"?). Google has a Keyword Planning Tool that would help for and look for variations that you might not think of. Ideally, you want something with a relatively low Cost Per Click, a decent amount of monthly traffic, and low competition.

So you'd select the keywords you want to advertise on, then set up landing pages touting your services for people coming in for those particular keywords. For the romance writers, maybe you'd emphasize your purple prose on your Romance Writer Landing Page. For the self-publishers, maybe you'd emphasize your low prices and willingness to read Papa Smurf And Dumbledore: The Erotic Adventures without judging them on your Self Publisher Landing Page. Think about all those different ads for the same product: the mom ad for the car tells you how child safe it is, the dad ad emphasizes hey yeah this thing is fast, the teenager ad is vague and makes no sense because teenagers.

Basically, what marketing message is most useful to people coming in from that search query? And on that page you want an action they can take right then, once you've snared them with your excellent copy. "Buy now" "Contact me now". That kind of thing. They can also explore the rest of your site, but you ideally end with a very obvious call to action.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:08 PM on August 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: More than taking a serious look at your ads/site/keywords, take a serious look at your potential customers. Who are they? Who are their friends? Why are they searching the internet for an editor instead of asking their community for help or a recommendation?

Yes, someone without a community (or who wants to not get professionally involved with their writing group) might be searching google for help, but adword results are much less credible than organic search results. Ad placement helps when you offer a product that costs much less than the competition, or when your product has a feature that helps it stand out as different from similar products.

Do you have a product that sells itself, or is your business based on your references selling you?

So much of publishing is run on networking. Free money or not, I think you'd be better off ignoring AdWords and spending your energy building your brand on social media.
posted by itesser at 10:21 PM on August 26, 2013

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